De Blasio marches in an ‘inclusive’ St. Pat’s parade
Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to make a statement with his parade appearances this weekend, marching in the "St. Pat's for All Parade" in Sunnyside, Queens on Sunday, while skipping parades in Staten Island and the Rockaways.
De Blasio told reporters in Queens that he shunned the Rockaways this weekend because it is not "inclusive," without elaborating.
"My approach has been to embrace parades that are inclusive and that's the standard we're going to hold," he said.
By contrast he said it was a "tremendous honor" to take part in the Sunnyside parade, which he called "a model of what this city is all about and the diversity that makes New York City great."
But de Blasio has previously marched in Rockaways St. Patrick's Day Parade, including as a candidate last March, and he appeared to have misspoke in his explanation.
Spokesman Wiley Norvell later clarified his remarks about the Rockaways event, telling Capital, "The mayor did not attend the Rockaways parade on Saturday due to scheduling conflicts. He didn't attend the Staten Island parade on Sunday because it's exclusionary."
In past years, de Blasio also marched in Staten Island's annual parade, which excludes participants from walking under banners that identify their homosexuality, as does the annual parade on St. Patrick's Day along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
De Blasio has said he will not march in the Manhattan parade, a decision that was echoed by other citywide officials and the Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg took part each year, walking the route four times with each of the city's uniformed agencies.
The Sunnyside parade specifically emphasizes that everyone, including gay groups, are welcome to march openly.
In October, the Rockaway Wave put de Blasio's face on a milk carton to emphasize his absence from the area during the campaign, but the paper's editor, Kevin Boyle, said he wasn't bothered that de Blasio had skipped the local parade this weekend.
"When he extended the ferry [service], I said I don't care if [he] never shows up as long as he gets things done for Rockaway," Kevin Boyle said. "If he gets the to finish the boardwalk before his first term is up, we'll hold another parade and we won't care if he comes then either."
Then he joked, "Next year, we'll put a de Blasio leprechaun on a milk box."
--additional reporting by Dana Rubinstein